David Gregory Ludwig
(born April 28, 1987) received two life sentences in prison
without parole for murdering Michael and Cathryn Borden on
November 13, 2005. The Bordens were the 50-year-old parents of
his girlfriend Kara Beth Borden, who fled with him after the
The Borden and Ludwig families
are both from Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. While
apparently not members of the same church, the two families are
stated to be devout evangelical Christians, and each family
similarly home schooled their children. David and Kara are
reported by the Carlisle, PA Sentinel to have met in a
support group for home schooled children.
Confrontation, murder, and
According to the online
Lancaster New Era (Lancaster, PA), November 16, 2005,
friends of Ludwig and Kara Beth say the two were sexually
involved. At the time, Ludwig was 18 years of age and Kara Beth
was 14. The age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16; intercourse
with a person under 16 and four or more years younger
constitutes statutory rape. The parents of teens reportedly
When Ludwig and Kara stayed
out all night together, Ludwig was summoned to the Borden home
for a confrontation, which culminated in the two adult Bordens
being shot in the head. The press indicates that Kara's younger
sister witnessed at least one of the murders.
An Amber Alert was issued for
Kara, and the story became instantaneous national news. Ludwig
and Kara Beth were apprehended in the central Indiana town of
Belleville on Tuesday, November 15, 2005, after he front-ended
his parents' 1998 Volkswagen Jetta into a tree, subsequent to a
chase by police. The latter phase of this apprehension was
carried live on all the cable television news networks. Ludwig
waived extradition. Both were (separately) flown back to
Gregory P. Ludwig and Jane
Ludwig are the suspect's parents. A search warrant of the Ludwig
home was executed the same day as the Borden murders, and was
reported on Thursday, November 17, 2005 to have recovered 54
firearms and associated ammunition.
The Indiana authorities
recovered a .40 S&W GLOCK semiautomatic pistol from the Ludwig
family car which is said to be the murder weapon. The Litiz
Record indicates they also recovered a Colt 1911 pistol, a
Ruger .45 ACP semiautomatic pistol, and a Ruger Mini-14 rifle.
Another handgun from the Ludwig collection was reportedly found
at the Borden home wrapped in a towel.
Additional items reported to
have been seized from the Ludwig home by police were at least
two computers and a number of video tapes. Among this evidence
an 18 minute video was recovered where Ludwig and a friend are
seen discussing and perhaps executing a home invasion; at one
point, they discussed having forcible sex with Kara and her
The funeral for the Bordens
was held Saturday, November 19, 2005, at Lancaster Bible
College. Kara attended. Press reports indicate that she sat with
her siblings, and that no tensions between them were apparent.
The adult Bordens were buried in a dedicated Mennonite cemetery.
Prosecution and imprisonment
The case is being pursued by
Donald R. Totaro, District Attorney of Lancaster County. Ludwig
has been charged with two counts of first degree homicide, one
count each of sexual assault, reckless endangerment of a minor,
as well as a firearms violation. An initial charge of kidnapping
was dropped after prosecuters determined that Kara Beth
willingly accompanied Ludwig.
Initially, Totaro had
announced that he intended to seek the death penalty for the
murder charges. However, on June 14, 2006, Ludwig agreed to a
plea deal and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole.
Authorities claim that Ludwig
confessed to the murders at the time of his apprehension, and
again while in custody. He is currently housed in the Lancaster County
Totaro has announced that Kara
will not be charged with any crime, but local gossip is not
treating her kindly. An orphan now, she has been appointed a
guardian and is represented by legal counsel. Ludwig's lawyer
has reportedly stated she willingly accompanied Ludwig in their
three-state flight, and that surveillance tapes from places
where the two stopped indicate she had ample opportunity to
escape if she so chose.
In documents released Monday
November 21, Kara has admitted she ran after him as he left the
Borden home, and wanted to go with him, and get married.
Teen admits to killing girlfriend's parents, gets life sentence
June 14, 2006
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A man who killed his 14-year-old
girlfriend's parents before fleeing the state with her pleaded
guilty Wednesday in a deal that spared him the death penalty.
A man who
killed his 14-year-old girlfriend's parents before fleeing the
state with her pleaded guilty Wednesday in a deal that spared him
the death penalty.
David Ludwig, 19, was
sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing Michael and
Cathryn Borden inside their Lititz home in November after they
ordered him to end a relationship with their daughter, Kara Beth.
Ludwig had little to say in
court as he pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder
and one count each of reckless endangerment, statutory sexual
assault and a firearms violation.
"By your useless and
selfish acts, you destroyed and permanently altered the lives of
countless people," Lancaster County Judge David L. Ashworth told
The plea deal bars Ludwig
from speaking publicly about the case or profiting from it. County
District Attorney Don Totaro said the Borden family also asked
that Ludwig not make a statement in court, not even to apologize.
"They thought it was a bit
late for any sort of apology," Totaro said.
The Bordens' two grown sons
attended the hearing but left without speaking to reporters.
Totaro said the Borden family endorsed the plea deal.
Kara Borden, her sister
Katelyn and their younger brother now live with relatives in
another state, said Robert Beyer, Kara's attorney.
"I think she's happy to get
this behind her and recapture her teenage years," Beyer said.
Ludwig and Kara Borden knew
each other through a support group for home-schooled students and
tried to keep their relationship secret from her parents, who were
displeased with their four-year age difference.
Police and prosecutors said
the Bordens confronted Ludwig after discovering he and Kara Borden
had been out all night.
After the talk, Ludwig used
his father's .40-caliber pistol to shoot Mike Borden in the back
of the head as he was going down the hallway to escort him to the
front door. Ludwig then shot Cathryn Borden in the head from 6
feet away as she was getting out of a chair.
Kara Borden ran from the
home after her father was shot, but a short time later willingly
got into Ludwig's car, ostensibly to start a new life together.
"They agreed they were
going to drive west as far from Lancaster County as possible,"
Totaro said after the hearing.
Ludwig, also of Lititz,
initially was charged with kidnapping, but that charge was dropped
after investigators concluded Kara Borden joined him voluntarily.
They were caught the
following day after a high-speed chase that ended with Ludwig
crashing his parents' car into a tree in Belleville, Ind. Neither
was hurt, and Ludwig confessed to police almost immediately.
Warwick Township Police Lt.
Edward Tobin told Ashworth that Kara Borden had not plotted to
have her parents shot or killed. She was not charged with any
"Some may question why a
14-year-old would get in his car after her father was murdered —
that's certainly a legitimate question," Totaro said.
Beyer said the girl didn't
think about what she was doing.
"Kids make rash decisions
under stress that are basically not understandable," Beyer said.
Ludwig received two
consecutive life sentences for the murder charges along with 9 to
19 years for the other offenses. He also was ordered to pay
restitution for funeral costs, counseling and damage to the
The Bordens, both 50, were
natives of Hannibal, Mo. He was vice president of Cadmus
Communications Corp.'s Science Press Division in Ephrata, and she
was a teacher and homemaker.
Ludwig received a high-school
diploma last week during a ceremony attended by his parents inside
a Lancaster County Prison classroom.
"He is not inherently evil.
He is not inherently bad," his lawyer Merrill Spahn said after the
hearing. "David Ludwig is a very troubled young man."
Pennsylvania Teen Pleads
Guilty to Killing Girlfriend's Parents, Gets Life in Prison
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
LANCASTER, Pa. — A man who killed his 14-year-old
girlfriend's parents last fall and then fled the
state with the girl pleaded guilty to murder
Wednesday and was sentenced to life in prison with
no chance of parole.
David G. Ludwig, 19,
admitted killing Michael F. and Cathryn L. Borden
inside their home in Lititz on Nov. 13 following an
argument over his relationship with their daughter, Kara Beth
pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree
murder, reckless endangerment, statutory sexual
assault and a firearms violation. He told police
he shot Michael Borden in the back of the head,
a crime witnessed by Kara's sister. Cathryn
Borden also was shot in the head.
the plea deal, Ludwig was immediately sentenced
to two consecutive life sentences for the murder
charges, plus 9 1/2 to 19 years on the other
useless and selfish acts, you destroyed and
permanently altered the lives of countless
people," Judge David Ashworth told him.
County District Attorney Don Totaro had been
seeking the death penalty.
Investigators concluded that Kara Borden joined
Ludwig voluntarily but played no role in the
little to say in court Wednesday, except to
answer the judge's questions.
Kara Borden knew each other through a support
group for home-schooled students and tried to
keep their relationship secret from her parents,
who were displeased with their age difference.
Prosecutors said the killings occurred after the
Bordens confronted Ludwig the morning they
discovered he and Kara Borden had been out all
A day after
the killings, police caught the two in
Belleville, Ind., after Ludwig crashed his
parents car into a tree during a high-speed
chase. Neither was hurt.
attorney James Gratton said Ludwig was concerned
about the effect a trial would have on the
community, the families and their churches.
Ludwig has been tutoring other inmates in prison.
the potential to do much good in an
institutional setting," Gratton said.
Girl Found Unharmed; Murder Suspect Arrested
BELLEVILLE, IN (AP) -- A
Pennsylvania teenager suspected of killing his girlfriend's
parents in an argument over her curfew was captured in Indiana on
Monday with the girl in his car after a police chase that ended in
a crash. The 14-year-old girl was not hurt, authorities said.
David Ludwig, 18, and Kara Beth
Borden were taken into custody around midday after he crashed his
parents' car head-on into a tree in Belleville, some 600 miles
from where the killings took place.
Police were questioning Ludwig
but had not spoken with Kara. Because of her age, Indiana and
Pennsylvania law requires a relative, guardian or attorney to be
Investigators said it was not
immediately clear whether the girl was abducted or went along
willingly, but they were operating on the assumption she was
"It's completely insane,
completely insane," Lancaster County, Pa., Coroner G. Gary
Kirchner said. "This isn't a Romeo-and-Juliet deal. This is far
worse than that."
Authorities said Ludwig shot
Kara's parents, Michael F. and Cathryn Lee Borden, early Sunday
after they and their daughter argued about her curfew when she
came home late. The shootings happened at the family's home near
Lititz, Pa., about 60 miles west of Philadelphia.
An alert for the girl was
issued across the East, and police in Pennsylvania and Indiana
investigated reported sightings of the pair as they made their way
west in a red Volkswagen Jetta. They were stopped in Belleville,
about 20 miles west of Indianapolis.
State police spokesman 1st Sgt.
Dave Bursten said authorities received a report Monday morning of
a vehicle matching that description at a truck stop near Fort
Wayne. Troopers went to the area, but the car was gone.
Information about the car was
broadcast to police statewide, Bursten said, and troopers spotted
it around midday in Belleville.
Ludwig led them on a five-mile
chase at speeds of 90 to 95 mph.
Trooper David Cox said Ludwig
was "very reckless, very dangerous at that point," meeting
vehicles head-on and running them into a ditch before he hit the
After officers pulled Ludwig
from the car, Borden got out and was frantic, screaming and crying,
No weapons were found in the
car. Police did not know why the pair were in Indiana.
Kara's 13-year-old sister,
Katelyn, told investigators her parents were shot after they
argued with Ludwig for about an hour, according to court papers.
Katelyn said she saw Ludwig
shoot her father, and then ran into the bathroom, where she heard
a second shot, presumably the one that killed her mother, court
papers said. Ludwig then ran through the house calling for Kara,
she told investigators.
The couple's 9-year-old son ran
to the neighbors, who called 911.
Police late Sunday issued an
arrest warrant for Ludwig on charges of criminal homicide and
Stephanie Mannon, 16, said
Ludwig and Kara had been seeing each other secretly. "Their
parents didn't approve of them being together" because of the age
difference, she said. "It wasn't because he was a shady character,
because he wasn't."
Both Ludwig and Kara maintain
Web sites. Hers refers to interests in soccer, art and her
Christian faith; his says he enjoys "having soft air gun wars" and
claims expertise in "getting in trouble."
The Bordens, both 50, were
apparently shot once each in the head, authorities said. Mike
Borden worked for a printing company, and the children were home-schooled,
said neighbor Tod Sherman. Sherman said the family knew Ludwig
through a home-schooling network.
It was the second violent
episode in a week in normally quiet Lititz, a Lancaster County
village known for quaint shops, artists and Sturgis Pretzel House,
which bills itself as America's first pretzel bakery. On Tuesday,
police shot and killed a 23-year-old man after he shot and wounded
an officer who had gone to his house to arrest him on a traffic